Rabble Reads: For Only $ 1 You Can Change the Publishing Industry!In publishing, few subjects raise more ire or elicit more distrust than book reviews. The New York Times story “Swarming a Book Online," says reviews "on Amazon are becoming attack weapons, intended to sink new books as soon as they are published." Author David Streitfeld writes:
In the biggest, most overt and most successful of these campaigns, a group of Michael Jackson fans used Facebook and Twitter to solicit negative reviews of a new biography of the singer. They bombarded Amazon with dozens of one-star takedowns, succeeded in getting several favorable notices erased and even took credit for Amazon's briefly removing the book from sale.
Because it's so difficult to separate real from malicious—or sock puppet— reviews, Amazon and other sellers and book sites have so far refused to get involved. Streitfeld writes: . . . "Mr. Pinch, the Cornell researcher, said he got the sense that 'Amazon is hoping that all these problems with positive and negative reviews will go away.' He added: 'But as more and more abuses come to light, the overall effect will be a slow undermining of the process. There are so many ways to game the systems.'"
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